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Elaine is the founder and visionary of the electronic-pro-space-pop band, ZIA. Raised in southern New Mexico by two loving mathematicians, Elaine grew to love the desert in all of its glory and wide openness. In 1991, she named the band after the New Mexico State sign, called a ZIA, because (1) it represents the Sun, and (2) it looks like a vertical launch pad.
[Interesting sidenote: On the cover of ZIA's EP, SHEM (1995), is a toy rocket launching from a ZIA launch pad. Amazingly, 16 years later, the first private spaceport is being built near her home town of Las Cruces, with its first successful space launch being a vertically launched sounding rocket. The rocket included a payload of Elaine's as well, which was a small amount of ashes from 9-11-01 that she collected off of her car windshield wiper in Brooklyn. They have now been to space and back and are mounted in a plaque.]
A classically trained pianist since age six, and a graduate of the Berklee College of Music Synthesis program, Elaine eventually threw all of her knowledge of traditional Western music harmony out the window and started composing primarily microtonal music. Always questioning traditions and standards, with ZIA she went as far as banning all standard 12 tone instruments. This meant having to build new MIDI controllers that don't visually represent the standard Western tuning.
When Elaine was still auditioning musicians for her live ZIA show, she was asked to join local Boston industrial heroes, D.D.T. Elaine first played with D.D.T. in 1991, adding a melodic element to the band (ala Front242, NitzerEb, Front Line Assembly) underneath Noel McKenna’s growling industrial-style vocals. I turn, Lisa Sirois and Noel McKenna of D.D.T. performed in ZIA’s debut performance in early 1992. Elaine also co-produced Sleep Chamber's CD "Siamese Succubi" in 1992 adding microtonal synthesizers and drums, and played in several of their live shows, using drum sticks to trigger bass lines and noises from Octapads.
ZIA was Elaine's first band to call her own, and from the get-go was immediately associated with its own philosophy: a positive view of our future on Earth and in space, breaking down artistic walls that should not exist, and embracing technology. ZIA has continued to perform regularly, eventually moving from Boston to NYC to Arizona, and is currently developing a Vegas-style act with a love saga story woven throughout. Of course it also involves zipping around the Milky Way Galaxy.
Elaine first realized that she had an interest in human space exploration and technology, ironically, as she explored the inner space of the internet in 1991. Joining newsgroups about her favorite topics - longevity, futurism, extropianism, cryonics, physics and space exploration, it became clear what her lyrical content and imagery would be for ZIA in the years to come.
In the mid-nineties she began attending a local monthly lecture series of the Boston Chapter of the National Space Society, and during her fourth month there, was elected president of the chapter. At this time she made a conscious decision to form an even more intimate bond between her two passions: experimental music and space exploration. Since then Elaine has sung solo at many pro-space conventions for banquets and hospitality.
Elaine has been heavily involved in pro-space and transhuman organizations since the mid-90s. She served as President of the Boston Chapter of the National Space Society (NSS) from 1996 to late 1999. Elaine re-founded the new New York City chapter of NSS and served as President until moving to Phoenix in late 2003. She served on the Board of Directors of NSS, the Space Frontier Foundation and the NY Transhuman Association all at the same time, in 2002 and 2003. She served as the US Groups Team Leader for the Extropy Institute for several years. Elaine is currently the Education and Public Outreach Coordinator for the Mars Institute.
ZIA’s releases include "ZIA v1.5" (1994), "SHEM" (1995-6, CD-EP includes multimedia about the history of American space exploration),"Big Bang!" (2000), and their newest release "Martians" (2006). Martians includes an accompanying video for the title track, filmed in the Canadian High Arctic for the NASA-Haughton Mars Project. The purpose of the video is to promote the idea of humans living on Mars.
"We will push outward into space and create new challenges for ourselves. Evolution truly happens when we subject ourselves to unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations. New tools, mathematics, agriculture, architecture, customs, language, and even art, are the results of migration into new and dangerous territories. At this point in history, we can seed new life and create new worlds that are now lifeless. Onward and Outward!" -Elaine Walker